Tag Archives: Phlox paniculata

Dependable Summer Plants (continued)

Still Blooming

Heading toward the end of summer when not many things are blooming whether because of high temperature, humidity, pouring rain or drought, there are still some diehard flowers that never disappoint me.  Garden Phlox, Black-eyed Susan, Echinacea and Alyssum just to name a few.  There are also some low growing shrubs and lovely weeds, yes weeds – that is what they are categorized.  I do let some weeds like Queen Anne’s lace and Goldenrod grow.  Not just because they are pretty but because my honey bees love them.

When I first grew Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata) years ago, I started with a couple of pink colored plants which are the most common.  Then added white ‘David’ and an orange whose name I no longer remember.  I let insects work their magic and now there is quite a large range of colors.  I also realized that growing one or two Garden Phlox won’t do much in terms of fragrance.  I couldn’t smell anything if I didn’t put my nose next to it.  Now it’s another story.  The whole garden is perfumed with a very subtle, soothing scent, which is more pronounced in the cool morning and evening air.  Next spring will be time to weed it down a bit since the plot is getting too crowded.  I tie a ribbon to the ones I plan to keep with a map of colors as a guide.  The duplicates will have to go.  I don’t know if there are any more colors out there but I still keep an eye out for them.

Pink Garden Phlox
Pink Garden Phlox
White and pink phlox
White and pink phlox

See more of the Garden Phlox that I added this year – Jenny- and the ones that our insect friends have created at AMAZINGSEASONS

Another flower that started to bloom in June and still blooms now is the Clematis ‘Betty Corning’.  In order to induce the vine to produce new flowers I cut the spent flowers off.  It has been a very meditative thing to do since there are so many of them but the result is worth it.

Clematis 'Betty Corning' keeps blooming through summer
Clematis ‘Betty Corning’ keeps blooming through summer

I also have Alyssum growing all over the place in both white ‘Carpet of Snow’  and purple ‘Royal Carpet’.  Their fragrance smells like honey and they draw in beneficial insects as well.

Alyssum 'Royal Carpet' a mix of mostly purple and white tiny flowers
Alyssum ‘Royal Carpet’ a mix of mostly purple and white tiny flowers

These Alyssum will last until frost.  I let them set seed so they will come back year after year.  I’ve blogged enough about Black-eyed Susan and Echinacea so I won’t mention them again here but my appreciation for their hardiness and their ‘never fail’ ability to provide colors in the garden is always there.

Before The Frost

Still Standing

Fall is officially here, not just the date but temperature and the color of leaves.  The ground is practically covered with leaves and the branches are becoming more bare everyday.  We start grinding up the leaves for mulching and composting when we have days off.  I don’t cut back much of anything except for the Butterfly bushes (Buddleja davidii).  This lovely, fragrant and food source for butterflies and bees is very invasive if the flowers are allowed to set seed.  I left other plants in the garden stand as they are during winter so birds and insects can have food and some protection from the harsh elements of winter.

As bare as the garden looks now, there are some diehard flowers that are still standing up to the cooling temperature.  Frost will eventually stop them but it’s still a different beauty.

Abelia
Abelia

Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora) starts flowering in summer and won’t stop until frost.  Its light fragrance draws bumblebees in.

Alyssum
Alyssum

This little flower, tiny, low to the ground but tougher than they look.  They keep going and are good for bees and other insects as a last resource.

Garden Phlox
Garden Phlox

Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata) is a real diehard.  It can tolerate drought, wet and cold to some degree.  I have no idea which one this is since I let them grow freely and cross-pollination results in many shades of phlox in the garden.  I only know that the phlox ‘David’ is white.

Ms Doreen Pike
Ms Doreen Pike

Rosa Rugosa ‘Ms Doreen Pike’ is still producing flowers here and there.  This one is soaking wet from the rain.

Antique Caramel
Antique Caramel

Once I pulled some of the Bee balm (Monarda) out to give more space to this rose ‘Antique Caramel’, it seemed to be happier and flowered more than last year.

Knockout
Knockout

I don’t remember if I ever mentioned I got this rose ‘Knockout’ for free from the nursery, two of them actually.  They’ve been doing really well and never let me down from early summer to frost.

Zinnia
Zinnia

This is one of the Zinnia that is still flowering.  Most of them have black spots due to an excess of rain lately.  But they are doing well this year.

Garden Phlox

A Tough Native (or phloxing around for fun)

Heat and rainstorm can’t do very much damage to this native perennial.  Once they’re established I merely prune them in spring so they won’t grow too tall and ‘dead-head’ them once the flower’s spent.

I started growing Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata) with just a couple of them.  Within a few years they proliferated all over the garden.  They readily self-sow.  If you don’t want too many of them, just don’t let them set seeds.  My problem is I have a soft heart with seedlings.  I think if it has a will to live why not let it live.   This mentality can be a problem for the garden; it can become overcrowded very quickly.   So I promise myself I’ll pull out some seedlings that are still “very young”.  This method works pretty well with population control and I feel less guilty too, but I probably miss a few good surprises from Mother Nature.

Seedlings don’t always look exactly like their parents, especially given open pollination.  I let the Garden Phlox grow wherever they come up, if not too close to any established plants. I tag them, according to color, once they flower.    Later, I either remove them if I already have too many of that color or if they have an interesting color, I move them to a better spot.    If I want more of the same color, I’ll just divide them.

Why is Garden Phlox good to grow?  Because they perform well in the heat of summer when most plants, aside from cactus, don’t.  If they’re not too tall, they’ll flop a little under a rain storm but will perk right up once dry.  They readily self-sow, so they can be invasive, but with a little discipline in the gardener, they’re easy to control.   The only disease that bothers them is mildew, but if they’re dry and not too crowded mildew shouldn’t be a problem.  They work beautifully as cut flowers.

And, most of all, they’re fragrant.  Their scent welcomes you from morning to evening.  Butterflies and bees love them.  Deer love them too, especially the tips.

Here are some that have weathered the heat and rain

In spring I prune the row along the walkway once they grow up to my waist.  This pruning makes them bushier and delays the flowering a little bit.  I let the ones on the left, squeezed in with Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia), grow to their normal height (around 4 to 5 feet) to balance with other plants in the same row and to cover the pool fence.

Lavender pink with a darker colored eyelet
Pale pink with a darker shade around the eyelet.
“David” produces pure white flowers. This is the only one that I know the name of.
This fuchsia color first showed up two years ago and since then I have nurtured three new plants from this one.
A little bit darker pink with dark eyelet among lavender pink flowers
White petals with streaks of pink
Orange-red. This one really stands out in the plot.